Friday, January 29, 2016

the first week

Tonight I walked over to the neighbor's house to repay her for a trip to Costco.
It was the first time I'd stepped foot out of the house since Monday.

And I've been perfectly fine with that. 
The kids have been thrilled to have space again, for running, riding bikes in the unfinished basement, and playing together. 
For the first three days Kent and I almost never even saw Nick and Ellie--they spent the whole time in their new room or down in the basement. It was glorious. The condo we rented for the past few weeks was beautiful and clean and comfortable, but it lacked in just space. We are all breathing easier now that we're not clambering on top of each other.
Today Nicholas and Ellie comandeered the master bathroom, pretending to be inventors and fighting invisible bad guys at the same time. While they played, Christian slid across the floor from room to room, tapping doors with his fingers, opening drawers, and finding new ways to get himself stuck under chairs, half-inside boxes, etc.
And I sat on the couch and read a book.

All those months of stress and chaos and now we're finally here.
It's been a week of stay-at-home do-nothing-but-play bliss.

On Sunday we spent the morning rummaging through boxes, suitcases, and all through the house trying to find all of our Church clothes. I will admit there was even some yelling and throwing of boxes. But we finally got everyone ready, and we stepped out the door to this:

Our poor mini-van, entrenched in about 10" of snow. Our street had not been plowed. 
Kent attempted to shovel the driveway around his car, but even still we wouldn't be making it out of our neighborhood.
So we scooped up the kids, and came inside to have our own little "at home Church" meeting.
And I took a picture.
First Sunday in our new home, and miraculously, this was the first and only photo we had to take.

A few more pictures from our first week here:

 The first night. Boxes everywhere.

 Our realtor was absolutely positively amazing. On top of everything else, he left us little gifts throughout the house. A basket of lotions and bath soaps in the master bath, a beautiful book in Christian's room, a ladder (!), and a basket full of essentials (motrin, tissues, paper towels, scissors, markers, paper, plates and cups, batteries, tools--everything we needed on move-in day.)

 Nicholas took this picture of me in the middle of a string of nearly 100 blurry pictures of Ellie's bed.
 Today the kids went swimming in my bathtub. I think Christian got more wet than they did by the end...

 I think the children would actually prefer us to leave the basement just the way it is. It's the perfect place for exploring and getting out some energy!
 And this little critter has found two favorite things about the new house.
Sneaking off to my bathroom to turn on the bathtub,
 And wedging himself between the baby gate and the stairs.
 We installed a new gate yesterday, and I think he's kinda disappointed he can't do this anymore.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

November, part 3

The vacation:

Throughout the move,
knowing that we were going to be headed to California, Kent's parents' house, and the cabin
was the light at the end of our tunnel.
To know that once it was over we were going to have two weeks of peace and relaxing and being taken care of really helped us get through it all.
Our first few days the kids were still kind of a wreck emotionally--
but things got better and we had such a fantastic time!

We spent a weekend at the cabin, played with cousins, visited the taco truck as often as possible, decorated for Christmas, and loved just being together with Grammer and Papa and all our cousins, brothers, and sister-in-laws.

Sam and Heidi hosted a beautiful and delicious Thanksgiving dinner!

Kent and I even got to go on a date one night while we were up at the cabin--we sat right next to the fireplace and it was so cozy!
The first Sunday there we stayed at the cabin, just our little family,
and it was the most relaxing, peaceful Sunday we've had in months. 
It was just what we needed to heal a little bit from the craziness of the move.

I got to go on a little girls' getaway to the cabin the following weekend.
Teresa had dressed up the cabin for Christmas, and it was so sweet and magical, I wanted to stay forever!

We wanted to get a picture of all the cousins together on our last night there, 
we should have thought of it earlier, before Mason and Jessica left with sweet little Alene and Ayden.

The kids were so so sad when we had to leave--the two weeks we had just flew by. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

November, part 2

The Move.

Let me just start by saying, moving is something I would classify as "happy stress." Hard things caused by progress, goal-setting, moving forward, and new beginnings.
So it's all good,
but still hard. And I just want to remember how hard it was, and how we got through it.

 I have to admit, it's taken me seven weeks to get to where I don't start twitching when I think back about our move.
Oh it was rough. 
Does everyone have it this bad when they move? Because seriously, why don't we all just stay where we are forever??? 
Moving, is the worst. Especially with children. And I'll be happy if I never do it again. 
(But let's be real.....I married Kent....we'll be moving again, I just hope it isn't for a MUCH longer time.)

The week before the move, I was trying to pack for our 2 week vacation to California, 
our 2 month stay in a condo, Christmas, 
and pack up the house.
I had so many lists I felt like my brain was going to explode. Trying to make sure everything made it into the correct storage unit, suitcase, tote, car, etc.

These beautiful wonderful amazing suitcase organizers have saved my life. Not even kidding. I bought four sets. And while living out of suitcases for the past two months, I have praised that purchase 
Search suitcase organizer cubes on Amazon. All brands have glowing reviews. Because they're amazing.

Two days before we moved out, we had a walk through of our new house with the builder. 
I woke up with a uti that morning (SUPER fun, people.)
I was supposed to be cleaning the house, wiping down cupboards, mopping floors, etc, but I dropped the kids off at school and dashed to the doctor's office.

Then I picked the kids up from school, we picked up Kent from work, dropped off his car at my brother's apartment where it was going to stay while we were in California, got lunch, and drove the 45 minutes down to our new house.

It was freezing cold. Ellie was a super-grump. There were about seven guys working on the house at that moment, and there was music blaring so loud we could barely hear our agent. Christian was crying in the carrier, and I still didn't feel well at all. Now that the house is more finished, I see several mistakes that we should have noticed that day, but the walk through was kind of a bust. 
Ce la vie.

The next morning we started bright and early loading up our pod with all of our remaining furniture. Goodbye fridge, couches, beds, table, everything.
Seriously, what a day. Thankfully we had help from so many of our friends and neighbors with moving the big stuff out that morning.
The rest of the day was a whirlwind of cleaning and organizing and last-minute packing. 
Oh, and our vacuum died.
And the buyers of the house visited, right in the middle of us eating dinner on the floor of the kitchen, surrounded in all of that last-minute odds and ends and garbage....
I'm sure they were feeling a little freaked out about the condition of their new home.

 The next day was Sunday, the day we were leaving.
We woke up and got ready for Church while also trying to feed the kids and keep them entertained and clean up the disaster of a house on moving day. So many odds and ends, so much wiping and packing and "just throw it in a box and be done with it!"

 The kids threw epic tantrums before Church. Two hours of screaming about their Church clothes/shoes/lines in their socks/ "why are these shoes even real?!"
Poor things, we were all feeling completely emotionally exhausted. 
At Church Ellie refused to go to her class, 
so I sat in a dark classroom with her while I nursed Christian.

After Church, our dear neighbors the Lee's had us over for dinner. 
I cannot even say how wonderful it felt to be taken care of that evening. 
Nicholas and Ellie are sure missing being able to run across the street every day and sit on the porch and talk with Brother and Sister Lee!

We got the kids together, picked up the very last of our belongings,
hung Nicholas upside-down so he'd stop crying long enough for a picture,
 and Kent loaded the older kids into the car while I sat on the floor and nursed Christian for the last time in that home.
 We drove up to Salt Lake that night to stay in a hotel so we could catch our flight the next morning. 
Ellie was hungry when we got to the hotel (surprise surprise) so we made microwave mac and cheese, got the kids cuddled into bed, 
and slept soundly all night (thank you, Christian!)

The end.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

monkey lips

I've been wanting to post these pictures for months...
but better late than never!

Christian makes this face when he's exploring. Every time he's concentrating, looking at something new, crawling around the house.
I call it his "monkey lips,"
and I kinda sorta hope he does it forever.

Monday, January 11, 2016

November, part 1

November, before the move:

 I took 8-month pictures of Christian.
It all started well, 
 But ended up more like this....

 Crawling babies make picture-taking a challenge.

Nicholas got the stomach flu just five days before the move....and I prayed no one else would catch it. No one did.

 I got creative in my methods of keeping my crawling baby contained while I packed:

 And the mentioned crawling baby found a discarded dum-dum one of his siblings left behind....

Christian attempted to figure out how to use a sippy cup.

 You'll figure it out eventually, bud.

I took pictures of my beautiful niece Avery in her blessing dress:

Nicholas's school had a reading and writing challenge the week before we left. He had to write stories about being in space.
This picture-I'm not sure I can handle the adorableness. All! The! Exclamation! Points!

We had a few final playdates with some of our dearest friends.

And the children made boxes fun: 
 (The smirnoff box was donated from a neighbor who got it from the grocery store....I have to admit I felt a little strange...but not as strange as I will when my new neighbors help us move in! Ha!)

We enjoyed one last snowfall with our golf-course view.

And a late afternoon break in the clouds gave me another glimpse at my most favorite type of sunset lighting: